UFC on ESPN 51: Luque vs. dos Anjos Staff Picks

UFC on ESPN 51: Luque vs. dos Anjos Staff Picks

Ultimate Fighting Championship picks are locked in for the MMASucka crew.

Taking place later this evening, August 12th sees UFC on ESPN 51, also titled as UFC Vegas 78, set for action from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Preliminary bouts kick off the event at 4:00pm ET (1:00pm PT) followed by the main card at 7:00pm ET (4:00pm PT) available to watch on either ESPN for cable viewers or ESPN+ for subscribers.

UFC on ESPN 51: Luque vs. dos Anjos results will be available here at MMASucka.

Recap our MMASucka staff picks and predictions from Friday’s Bellator 298 event from Sioux Falls. Also, stay tuned this Tuesday for our Dana White’s Contender Series: Season 7, Week 1 picks from Las Vegas.

The Fights

Meeting in the night’s main event sees octagon veterans Vicente Luque and Rafael dos Anjos set for five possible rounds in the welterweight division.

Looking for a change in momentum sees Luque on a two-fight skid after losses to Belal Muhammad by decision and Geoff Neal by knockout in 2022. The Ultimate Fighter 21 competitor has finished 13 of his 14 promotional wins which ranks second in divisional history as he looks for success in only his second main event with the UFC. Luque’s opponent, dos Anjos, will make his 34th appearance inside the octagon and his second fight at 170 pounds since returning to welterweight last December.  The bout last year was a success for the former Lightweight Champion and interim Welterweight Title Challenger securing a second-round submission over Bryan Barberena.

Technical strikers Cub Swanson and Hakeem Dawodu will fight at featherweight in the co-main event. Longtime featherweight contender Swanson targets his first victory since December of 2021 after suffering a defeat to leg kicks versus Jonathan Martinez in October of last year. Muay Thai specialist Dawodu looks for similar footing after his last outing in September of 2022 fight went in the hands of Erosa by unanimous decision.

The Ultimate Fighter 23: Light Heavyweight finalist, Khalil Rountree Jr., aims for his fourth straight win in-a-row as he battles former Cage Fury FC Heavyweight title challenger Chris Daukaus on the main card.

Two middleweights, Tafon Nchukwi and Josh Fremd, both missed the divisional limit in their respected fights against A.J. Dobson and Jamie Pickett. Despite this, their fights will go on as planned. Find our picks for these UFC on ESPN 51 fights further below.

2023 Staff Picks

MMASucka staff picks are composed of five promotions: the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bellator MMA, ONE Championship, the Professional Fighters League (PFL), and Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS). UFC and Bellator events feature picks from only main cards. PFL will feature select fights from the main and preliminary card while DWCS sees all fights counted from the event. ONE Championship returns to picks for the first time since 2020 and will feature only mixed martial arts (MMA) fights selected from cards with a minimum three matchups.

The WINNER of staff picks at the end of 2023, who picked the most victorious fighters, will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or a chain from Championship Chains. Staff picks in 2022 was won by Wesley Riddle with a record of 264-135.

Who wins at UFC on ESPN 51: Luque vs. dos Anjos?

Staff Records after Dana White’s Contender Series – Season 7, Week 1:

Ben Jamieson: 182-94Michael DeSantis: 178-98Jeremy Brand: 174-102Nate Freeman: 171-105Wesley Riddle: 169-107Frazer Krohn: 169-107Julio Monteros Jr.: 155-94Andrew Benjamin: 134-111Jack Goodwillie: 132-79Brian Knight: 126-79Tim Wheaton: 105-60Roemello Reyes: 62-34Jonathan Andrade: 31-24Brandon Joint: 12-9Andrew Harbaugh: 10-7Joshua Yule: 7-6Chris De Santiago: 6-6Antwyn Jackson: 5-6

*Note – not all staff pick for every event**Note – Bellator 298 picks will be added to the above records NEXT weekend*

Josh Fremd (10-4), -325vs.Jamie Pickett (13-9), +260

Catchweight Fight– 189 LBS. ~ 85.7 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Fremd via Unanimous DecisionWesley Riddle: Fremd via Round 2 TKOMichael DeSantis: Fremd via Round 1 SUBFrazer Krohn: Fremd via Round 2 TKONate Freeman: Fremd via Round 2 TKOJack Goodwillie: Fremd via Round 1 SUBBen Jamieson: Fremd via Round 1 TKO

Staff picking Fremd: 7Staff picking Pickett: 0

A.J. Dobson (6-2, 1 NC), +120vs.Tafon Nchukwi (6-3), -142

Catchweight Fight– 189.5 LBS. ~ 86.0 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Nchukwi via Round 2 TKOWesley Riddle: Dobson via Round 1 TKOMichael DeSantis: Dobson via Round 2 TKOFrazer Krohn: Nchukwi via Unanimous DecisionNate Freeman: Dobson via Unanimous DecisionJack Goodwillie: Dobson via Round 1 TKOBen Jamieson: Nchukwi via Round 3 TKO

Staff picking Dobson: 4Staff picking Nchukwi: 3

Polyana Viana (13-5), +164vs.Iasmin Lucindo (14-5), -198

Women’s Strawweight Division– 115 LBS. ~ 52.2 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Lucindo via Unanimous DecisionWesley Riddle: Lucindo via Split DecisionMichael DeSantis: Viana via Unanimous DecisionFrazer Krohn: Viana via Unanimous DecisionNate Freeman: Lucindo via Unanimous DecisionJack Goodwillie: Lucindo via Round 2 TKOBen Jamieson: Lucindo via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Viana: 2Staff picking Lucindo: 5

Khalil Rountree Jr. (12-5, 1 NC), -175vs.Chris Daukaus (12-6), +145

Light Heavyweight Division– 205 LBS. ~ 93.0 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Rountree Jr. via Unanimous DecisionWesley Riddle: Rountree Jr. via Round 2 TKOMichael DeSantis: Rountree Jr. via Round 1 TKOFrazer Krohn: Rountree Jr. via Round 2 TKONate Freeman: Rountree Jr. via Round 2 TKOJack Goodwillie: Daukaus via Unanimous DecisionBen Jamieson: Rountree Jr. via Round 2 TKO

Staff picking Rountree Jr.: 6Staff picking Daukaus: 1

Cub Swanson (28-13), +200vs.Hakeem Dawodu (13-3-1), -245

Featherweight Division– Co-Main Event –– 145 LBS. ~ 65.8 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Swanson via Round 2 TKOWesley Riddle: Dawodu via Unanimous DecisionMichael DeSantis: Dawodu via Unanimous DecisionFrazer Krohn: Dawodu via Unanimous DecisionNate Freeman: Dawodu via Unanimous DecisionJack Goodwillie: Dawodu via Round 2 TKOBen Jamieson: Dawodu via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Swanson: 1Staff picking Dawodu: 6

Vicente Luque (21-9-1), -102vs.Rafael dos Anjos (32-14), -118

Welterweight Division– Main Event –– 170 LBS. ~ 77.1 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: dos Anjos via Unanimous DecisionWesley Riddle: dos Anjos via Unanimous DecisionMichael DeSantis: dos Anjos via Unanimous DecisionFrazer Krohn: Luque via Round 3 TKONate Freeman: Luque via Unanimous DecisionJack Goodwillie: Luque via Round 4 TKOBen Jamieson: dos Anjos via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Luque: 3Staff picking dos Anjos: 4


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